Question

Home Internet - 4G LTE vs 5G


Userlevel 3
Badge +4

My Primary Signal is 4 bars / B66 and my Secondary Signal is 3 bars / n71.  My download speeds are less than 100 Mbps.  Does that mean I’m operating over 4G LTE instead of 5G?


35 replies

I’d like to know the answer to this, too. My primary is B41 and secondary, which I only have occasionally, is N71. Download speeds are usually around 75-80 mps. Sometimes the download speeds reach into the 200mps range but only for short periods.

Userlevel 2
Badge +2

My signals are the reverse.  My Primary Signal is 4 bars / B2 and my Secondary Signal is 5 bars / n71.  Guess it helps to be less than a mile from a tower.    I regularly get 400-600 Mbps download speed.

If your PC, laptop, or other device does not support Wi-Fi 6 802.11ax you likely will be limited to speeds in the 100-200 range with Wi-Fi 5 802.11ac or even less with older devices, even if the T-Mobile gateway is connected to 5G.

I have both a Wi-Fi 6 laptop and a Wi-Fi 5 laptop.   I never get more than 200 Mbps download with the Wi-Fi 5 laptop, but 400-600 download is the norm with the Wi-Fi 6 laptop.

 

I understand older devices won’t be as fast but if I test with my new phone when connected to the gateway I get the 75-80 range. If I turn wifi off and connect to 5G it is faster but never close to the speeds you’re getting. The tower is line of sight on my front porch less than a mile away and only get 3-4 bars.

Userlevel 3
Badge +4

I don’t have any Wi-Fi 6 devices and am okay with Wi-Fi 5 speeds.  I was able to get 200 Mbps on my previous cable modem and would be happy to get back there again.  I would be happy just to have service that doesn’t cut out so often really.  The 4G speeds are working fine until they completely drop out.

Yeah, I’m ok with the speeds but they are nowhere what I was promised. They put new transmitters up on the tower a few weeks ago so I anticipated an upgrade but nothing so far.  It’s better than my cable which is always around 25 mps despite their ads that say 200 mps. I still can’t figure out why I’m getting 3-4 bars when I’m line of site less than a mile and I’ve tried moving the gateway around in different spots.

I have to add that there was some upgrade as my phone now picks up 5G after the new transmitters but the gateway performance is the same as before.

Userlevel 1
Badge

Note: The primary signal will be for your 4G control connection. The secondary signal id for your data and will be 5G if it is available. If your secondary signal Band is “n41”, then you are on 5G.

Userlevel 3
Badge +4

Note: The primary signal will be for your 4G control connection. The secondary signal id for your data and will be 5G if it is available. If your secondary signal Band is “n41”, then you are on 5G.

This is good to know.  My secondary signal is band n71.  Is that 5G as well?  Does this also mean that I should focus on getting better reception on my secondary signal to improve speeds?

Userlevel 2
Badge +2

Note: The primary signal will be for your 4G control connection. The secondary signal id for your data and will be 5G if it is available. If your secondary signal Band is “n41”, then you are on 5G.

T-Mobile uses several 5G bands.   In my area the n71 600 Mhz band is used.  The n41 band obtained in the Sprint merger is being deployed in areas where T-Mobile does not have 600 Mhz coverage

  • Frequencies that can provide 5G: 
    • Band n71 (600 MHz)
    • Band n41 (2.5 GHz)
    • Band n260 (39 GHz)
    • Band n261 (28 GHz)
  • With 5G, high amounts of data can be transmitted more efficiently than 4G LTE. 
  • One of the ways T-Mobile is rapidly deploying 5G is integrating mid-band 2.5 GHz spectrum from Sprint.

T-Mobile network | T-Mobile Support

Connected to b41 on the gateway, primary signal. Very rarely do I have secondary which is n71,n41. Why does my phone connect to 5g when I shut wifi off but not the gateway?

Userlevel 2
Badge +2

I found that I got a better 5G connection when I configured…

Network… Wi-Fi Networks… 5GHz… Channel Bandwidth: 80MHz

instead of Auto.

Userlevel 3
Badge +4

Note: The primary signal will be for your 4G control connection. The secondary signal id for your data and will be 5G if it is available. If your secondary signal Band is “n41”, then you are on 5G.

@da.down Does this mean it’s the quality of the second signal which would affect my speeds?

Userlevel 1
Badge

@jlillard  Yes, a good secondary signal will get better speeds. If a slow secondary band has a strong signal, it can dominate the cell setup and keep you from connecting on a higher frequency band with better throughput. This is why 5 GHz wifi provides faster speeds than 2.4 GHz as long as the 5 GHz signal is strong enough to avoid packet loss.

Userlevel 3
Badge +4

@da.down Interesting.  So the primary signal is always 4G and used for call control and the secondary signal is always 5G and used for data transfer.  If my 4G is stronger than my 5G, is it transferring data over 4G and completely ignoring 5G or is it still using 5G for data transfer but the weaker signal is giving me slower speeds?

 

Userlevel 1
Badge

@jlillard The secondary signal can also end up being 4G depending on the tower and the signal strength. If you end up with a 4G secondary signal, your top speed will be much lower. Your secondary band indicates the frequency used by your connection and that in turn determines your maximum speed. Your actual speed will also be affected by the signal strength, the other users connected to the same tower, and the tower’s backhaul speed (how fast it can send and receive data on the rest of the network).

Userlevel 3
Badge +4

@da.down And if the secondary signal is using band n71 then it's a 5G signal, right?

N71 is 5G

I have 75 mps down on the gateway which lately only has B41 primary and no secondary., Turning the wifi off on my phone it connects to 5G and the download speed is into 200 mps range. So, I don’t know why the speed is different between the phone on 5G  and the gateway as iboth are only connecting to B41.

Userlevel 1
Badge

Phone traffic gets priority over home internet service.

Userlevel 2
Badge +2

@da.down And if the secondary signal is using band n71 then it's a 5G signal, right?

N71 is the 600 MHz 5G band, also known as Low Band.  Its peak speed can be up to 225 Mbps, but more likely to be in the 100-150 Mbps range.  It provides the furthest signal coverage.

N41 is the 2.5 GHz 5G band, also known as Mid Band that T-Mobile acquired in the Sprint merger.  My T-Mobile gateway is connected to the N41 band and I get up to 600 Mbps download.   The tower is about 1 mile from my home.

My gateway originally connected to the N71 band, but the tower must have been upgraded as it now connects to the faster n41 band.    I didn’t even notice the band change until recently, but did notice the faster speed.   

So my earlier posts about band 71 were incorrect as my gateway connects to n41.   Can’t update those older posts.

 

Userlevel 3
Badge +4

@cjake Thanks for the technical details.  My secondary signal seems to be stable but it’s usually only 3 bars.  Is there a way to tell if I’m maxing out my 5-bar primary connection or struggling with distance on my 3-bar secondary connection?

Userlevel 1
Badge

It’s your secondary signal connection that determines how fast your download speeds will be.

I’ve had no secondary signal for a couple weeks now so I’m totally confused.

Badge

My Primary Signal is 4 bars / B66 and my Secondary Signal is 3 bars / n71.  My download speeds are less than 100 Mbps.  Does that mean I’m operating over 4G LTE instead of 5G?

I have a similar situation. My secondary is often not connected. I get speeds in the single digits when that happens. Really sucks.

And if the secondary signal is using band n71 then it's a 5G signal, right?

anything with n in front is 5G if it has b in front it’s LTE

see www.cellmapper.net

After several weeks with no secondary signal I now have primary B2 and secondary N41. Both at 4 bars and download is now around 270 mps. So we’ll see how long this lasts.

Ditto.  My device always has primary of B2, secondary of N41 and I barely get 30Mbs with lots of drop outs (waiting for Youtube to buffer).  At times, speedtest shows less than 1Mbs while the same test in the same room as the gateway gets over 300Mbs on 5g phone.  I’ve gotten used to just doing a screen cast from my 5G phone since the latest Chromecast (ten feet away) can’t connect to the gateway/internet at reliable speeds.  In other words, my 5g phone gets great 5g speeds but the Internet gateway - not so much.

Reply